A report on Kyiv during the blackouts and how Putin is losing influence in Kazakhstan. The worldʼs leading media about the war on December 1

Anton Semyzhenko


The New York Times published a large report on how Kyiv copes with blackouts of electricity, water and heating. Its author, Marc Santora, visited the surgical department of the hospital, the apartments of Kyiv residents, Podil hotels with coffee shops, and the National Philharmonic. Everywhere people used candles or lanterns, endured the cold and other inconveniences due to power outages caused by the Russians. However, despite the fatigue, writes Santora, none of his interlocutors became more inclined to compromise with the occupiers. "If in February-March bottles with Molotov cocktails, which were prepared en masse in almost every front-line city, became a symbol of the resistance of Ukrainian civilians, now the analog of these cocktails is generators," he writes. But even those who cannot afford them do not stop their usual activities. The masseuse Santora met continues to give massages in the dark, guided by muscle memory. She was amazed that even on the day of the heaviest shelling, clients called her and offered not to cancel the session. Restaurants offer several types of menus at once ― some are ordinary, others are for blackout mode, when most dishes do not require long-term heat treatment. And the musicians stubbornly continue to give concerts ― even with the light of rechargeable lanterns. As the director of the Philharmonic, Dmytro Ostapenko, explained to the journalist, "we work to warm peopleʼs souls. So that people believe in themselves and in us."

The British broadcaster BBC published a legal analysis of whether mass shelling of Russians can be considered a war crime. This is a dry, emotionless text that tries to answer the question of international humanitarian law ― whether energy facilities can be considered military targets, and what collateral damage to the civilian population can be considered justified. The author of the article, Ben Tobias, mentions that energy substations and generating facilities were also targets in the 2003 Iraq War, and the Serbian energy sector was bombed by NATO forces in 1998. And if, for example, several military units are fed from the substation, its destruction is fully justified ― in addition, this can lead to fewer civilian casualties than if the troops hit military targets directly. Also, international practice suggests that during military operations there will definitely be suffering among civilians, the only question is the proportionality of this suffering to the achieved military goals. And here is the key point. First, the article says, Russian strikes are so massive and frequent that the enemy military themselves cannot assess whether the military facilities that are their target have been neutralized. Secondly, Russian officials have admitted (in particular, through the statement of Putinʼs press secretary Peskov) that they seek to persuade Ukraine to negotiate with mass strikes. That is, press on the civilian population. According to international humanitarian law, terrorizing civilians cannot be a military objective, and is therefore a crime. In the end, in order to understand whether to punish the Kremlin for another crime, it will be necessary to analyze each hit separately: what goal did the Russians try to achieve, why did they choose this particular goal and this particular time. All these norms are prescribed in the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions, which both Ukraine and Russia signed. Therefore, due to the proper work of lawyers, the Kremlin will still have to answer for each of the missiles that hit energy facilities in Ukraine.

Receiving defeat after defeat in Ukraine, Putinʼs Russia is weakening its influence in Kazakhstan as well, writes the publication of the Atlantic Council analytical platform. Always one of the Kremlinʼs biggest allies, united by a shared history, close trade ties and one of the worldʼs longest shared land borders, Kazakhstan has been conspicuously distancing itself from Moscow since the start of Russiaʼs full-scale invasion of Ukraine. So, the country canceled traditional ceremonies until May 9, which angered the Kremlin. Russians who fled Putinʼs mobilization to Kazakhstan received state aid there ― in connection with, as the countryʼs president Kassym-Jomart Tokayev put it, a "hopeless situation" at home. And when Putinʼs failures in the war became obvious, Kazakhstan began to position itself more actively in the international arena as an independent player. Tokayev took part in the recent Summit of the Turkic States, is actively promoting the idea of ​​the Transcaspian trade route, which bypasses Russia, and is signing agreements with Turkey on the joint production of military drones. As a result, Russian propaganda talk shows talked about the "threat of the development of Nazism" in Kazakhstan ― however, the publication writes, behind these cries is the statement of the weakening of Russiaʼs influence on Astana ― and on the whole of Central Asia.